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9/3/12

Black Skin Burns Too

I remember as a child and a young adult, I'd always walk around with an umbrella to shade myself from the sun, not because I might get darker, but because I needed shade. After awhile I came to learn about protecting the skin from the sun's rays. Even though I wasn't using sunscreen then, I was still protecting myself somewhat.

I remember as a child I went to a beach with the group in our orphanage. We weren't given sunscreen.  It was such a wonderful time to be outside in God's nature and not behind walls and bars. I had such fun in the sea.

Next day I was hurting. Burning. Burning. I was burnt.

I've never forgotten that time in my life and the peeling that came afterwards.

I have learned much more about skin protection since then and I still have a love affair with my umbrella :)

Yes black skin can be burnt. I'd advise black women not to listen o the 'oh we are black and have enough melanin in our skin, unlike white people, so we do not need to use sunscreen' mantra. Take heed, read, learn and protect yourself.

Skin is skin. We are all susceptible to the dangers of too much sun.

See my tips here on how you can help to protect yourself daily.
Although people with dark skin may not sunburn as easily as those with fair skin, they are still at risk of skin damage from excessive sun exposure. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends routine use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater for all people — regardless of skin color. 
Skin color is determined by the number, distribution and type of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) in the skin. Dermatologists refer to the degrees of pigmentation in skin as "skin types." Skin types range from very little pigment (type 1) to very darkly pigmented (type 6). 
It is true that dark skin provides some protection against sun damage. People with light skin types have a much higher incidence of skin cancer than do people with dark skin types. But dark skin is not a guarantee against skin cancer. People with dark skin, hair and eyes can — and do — get skin cancer. Particularly vulnerable areas include under the fingernails and toenails, on the palms of the hands and on the soles of the feet — where skin is lighter. 
Like those with light skin, people with dark skin are also at risk of premature skin aging from excessive exposure to the sun. This includes wrinkles and mottled or uneven skin pigment. So regardless of your skin type, it's important to protect your skin in the sun by limiting sun exposure and wearing sunscreen and sun-protective clothing when outside. 
Classification of skin types 
Skin type Description 
Type 1 Always burns, never tans (pale white skin) 
Type 2 Always burns easily, tans minimally (white skin) 
Type 3 Burns moderately, tans uniformly (light brown skin) 
Type 4 Burns minimally, always tans well (moderate brown skin) 
Type 5 Rarely burns, tans profusely (dark brown skin) 
Type 6 Never burns (deeply pigmented dark brown to black skin) 
Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Often you'll hear people say things like this:
QTD:
“I don't understand why Africans living ON equator can be in the sun all day long, every day and you never hear about them getting skin cancer, nor do they even THINK about wearing sunscreen. Nor do our people on the Caribbean talk about sun protection. But I hear black people in America repeating the whole "wear sunblock" thing after hearing instructions given to melanin recessive people. They do it, so we do it and it's not necessary from what I understand. Melanin is a natural sun protection. It absorbs light and charges our cells like a battery. Lighter skin cannot absorb the rays nearly as well; therefore it burns and causes cell damage (cancer). Almost every darker skinned black person I knew growing up played and worked under the blistering sun rays of New Orleans almost year round and we never burned or got cancer. The sun is our friend, enjoy the wonderful benefits of its rays. It is medicine for us. The word human implies HUE-man meaning man having hue, a gradation or variety of a color.” UQTD
Be careful of these silly talks that put you at risk.
Your skin is important for your health. Treat it accordingly.

Do you use sunscreen? What are your thoughts?


About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people. Please read my disclosure 
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3 comments :

  1. i am very fair skinned and i burn if i am out in the sun for more than a couple minutes..
    i am glad you shared this so that everyone will remember that we ALL can burn at some point!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Once in a while I'm caught off guard but most of the time I have sunscreen on.

    My ex always said that he didn't need sunscreen too. Once we went to Florida and his bald head burned like a volcano. He was careful after that!

    ReplyDelete

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